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Elevated lead contamination in homes of construction workers.
Piacitelli GM; Whelan EA; Sieber WK; Gerwel B
Am Ind Hyg Assoc J 1997 Jun; 58(6):447-454
A study of lead (7439921) contamination in the homes of lead exposed workers was conducted. Thirty seven homes of construction workers with blood lead at or above 25 micrograms/deciliter and 22 homes of neighborhood families with no known lead exposure (controls) were tested. Of the exposed workers, 27.8% reported that they always wore company supplied work clothes, of which 18.8% laundered the clothing at home. Most (80.6%) reported wearing some street clothes while at work and 86.2% laundered these at home. Half of the workers changed from their work clothes before going home, but only 16.7% always showered before leaving work. The geometric mean (GM) lead loadings on the driver side floor, driver's armrest, and passenger's armrest in the exposed workers' automobiles were 1,100, 2,000, and 1,200 micrograms per square meter (microg/m2), respectively. The highest GM lead loading in automobiles driven by the controls was 250microg/m2. In the homes of the exposed workers, GM lead concentrations on the carpeting in rooms where work clothes were changed were significantly higher than in the controls' homes, 370 versus 120 parts per million. Lead concentrations on the family room sofa, exterior entry floor, and laundry room floor were also significantly higher in the homes of the exposed workers than in control homes. Further analysis revealed that these significant differences were due to the lead exposed workers not showering before leaving work. Surface lead contamination was significantly greater on the hands of the exposed workers than those of the controls, but not on the hands of the workers' family members. The authors conclude that occupational exposures and poor hygiene practices are primarily responsible for the 'take home' lead exposures.
NIOSH-Author; Environmental-exposure; Heavy-metals; Construction-workers; Lead-poisoning; Risk-factors; Families; Environmental-contamination; Motor-vehicles
Issue of Publication
American Industrial Hygiene Association Journal
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division